Thursday, August 27 ~ Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51 Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Meditation: When God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world it was to rescue us from ourselves, from the tyranny of sin, Satan, and death. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and his triumphant victory over the grave won pardon for us and reconciliation with our heavenly Father, and the promise of everlasting life and joy in his kingdom. The Lord Jesus told his disciples on a number of occasions that he would return again at the end of this present age, not simply to rescue us again from our enemies, but as a victor King and Lord who will vindicate all who have believed in him, How? By releasing us from the curse of death and condemnation and restoring for us the plan he had from the beginning of creation – a new heaven and a new earth for a people perfectly united with God in peace, joy, and harmony forever. This is the background to Jesus parable in today’s Gospel about the householder and the thief in the night. When the Lord Jesus returns, he doesn’t want to find us flirting with the enemy or worse joining forces with enemies who are opposed to God and his kingdom. He wants to see us fully aligned with him, and invites us constantly to do so when Jesus says “follow me.”
Prayer: O God, who console the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: And so Jesus invites us to follow him, time and time again. But ask yourself: Do I take up Jesus on his invitation? If I do follow him, I am truly attentive to his teachings by embracing them and living them, so that I am ready to meet him when he calls each of us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.